Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

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Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby Joe Cool » Tue 14 Feb 2012 11:05 am

Yesterday afternoon I had an itch to check out a few guns so I decided I would make the trip down to Lehi and see what Cabela's had to offer. Naturally I had to have my best friend come with. He had just bought his first handgun and hadn't really had much experience open carrying so I assumed that Cabela's would be a great place to spend some time and shop around. We both walked in, openly carrying and had absolutely no issues, weird looks, anything. He hasn't done it for long but he isn't stupid and he has seen me do it lots of times so he acts natural, doesn't touch his gun, etc. Everything is smooth as butter and it is as if we aren't armed at all. No employees look at us, no customers. No one cares, as usual, and as it should be.

The first issue happens at the gun counter. We both grab a number and his is first and soon called. My friend asks if he can look at some Ruger Vaqueros. The younger guy behind the counter asks if he is 21. My friend is 20 and relays this fact to the clerk. The guy said somewhat hesitantly that he couldn't let him look at the guns unless he was 21. My friend and I both kind of smile and furrow our brows in disbelief :raisedbrow: . We are quite certain this guy noticed us both carrying, but I guess policy is policy. Despite this, I have been to many, many shops before I was 21 and was able to look at all the handguns I wanted. My friend has also done the same. I guess big box outfitters don't see things to be the same. We decide not to make a point to argue with him so he called the next number, mine. He asked me if I was 21, which I am, hesitated for a second, and then let me see the guns I wanted to see. The rest of the experience at the counter was great. I was there to look at the CZ 75, for those of you wondering.

That was fairly early on in the excursion. It's a big store with a lot to see and a lot to do. We were there for just shy of two hours. Debating on rifle calibers, sorting through all the ammo, and checking out the wildlife displays. When we were about on our way out we decided to stop by their kind of used gun "museum". It's that room in the north-west corner of the store, everything is in a display case. They have some super hot deals there and we wanted to check them out. As we are walking in there is an employee walking out. He is an older gentleman, probably about 70. I see that he is eyeing us and I give him a nod as we make eye contact, he returns the nod. We walk past him when I hear his really silly, really predictable question. "Is that loaded?" I turn around and inform him that it is "Utah unloaded" and there is nothing in the chamber. He then proceeds to tell me that I need to take the magazine out and put it in my pocket :huh: . I smile because that was not something I expected to be told to do. Knowing that this isn't any kind of law, I ask him if this is their policy. He says that it is and that you must be 21 to "have" a handgun. I correct him and tell him that, while I am 21 and my friend is 20, we are both well within the law to have our handguns on our hips. He did not enjoy hearing that at all and kind of wanders off somewhere, fuming :evil:.

My friend and I continue to browse the room, magazines in our pockets :lol2: , when he comes back out again to make his (painfully incorrect and misguided) point. He essentially repeats himself, telling me that you must be 21 to possess a handgun. At this point I am getting frustrated, for obvious reasons. I correct him again. "It's the law", he says. I smile as I say, "Well, if that's the law I'd really love for you to show me because I know I can show you otherwise." He tells me that he can show me and I follow him to the corner of the room where there is this small office I had not noticed before. I head toward the room. I was not happy now, and I did not look back to see if my friend followed along. I believe he stood in the doorway for a time before finding the scene too frustrating and idiotic to observe.

The room was modest, with a desk and small bookshelf. Sitting behind the desk was a preoccupied and slightly disgruntled gentleman in his 40's. He was talking to another older gentleman who was standing in front of the desk. They were having a calm, cool conversation about something, and as my captor lead the way in, I really felt like he broke any harmony that may have existed in that room. He states his case to the manager, who really looks like he couldn't care less. The manager digs within a drawer of his desk and pulls out a yellow pamphlet with our state's emblem on it. I open the pamphlet and on the inside of the cover I see it in all of it's glory. I read 76-10-509 aloud, smiling, triumphant, and then I look at the other occupants of the room. My personal policeman :wink: looks at me as if I had just popped out of the floor and read The Nine Satanic Statements. I hand the pamphlet back to the manager.

As much as I wish I could say I was surprised when this happened, I wasn't. The older guy who brought me in proceeded to repeat himself. "You hafta be 21 to have a handgun." It was as if you told him this was all a dream and he just absolutely refused to agree to it. I tilted my head to the side and gave him an apprehensive look. The manager spoke, "No, it says here that you only need to be 18, that is what he just read." The older man persisted, "Well that's not how Jim and me read it!" The manager read the relevant section aloud, leaving his finger lingering near it as he handed it to the older man.

This is when I realized what was going on, where I was, and what was happening. Boy, was I mad. I, a law abiding, peaceful citizen and CUSTOMER had been taken into a back office like an elementary student who had been caught urinating on the walls in the bathroom. This is also when I decided to really speak my mind. "This is how you treat all of your customers?", I asked the manager. He looked at me blankly and he kept his attention mostly toward the older man as he fumbled with the pamphlet and tried to make sense of what had just slapped him in the face (the truth). "You know," I continued, "We have been here for hours. We came here to shop and we haven't bothered anyone. We are well within the law and you are treating us like this. I've been taken into some back room to be reprimanded for following the law. I have taken a class and received certification for the Utah CCP and I'm being told I'm wrong about something I know quite intimately?" When I get angry my voice gets quiet, and if the room had not been so isolated I can imagine that my words would have been nearly inaudible. "I am not a criminal and yet I am being treated like one."

The manager was very flat and agreed that I was right and the law said 18 years, not 21, although that was irrelevant since I was 21 anyway. I sensed no empathy from this man. I do not believe he could have been apologetic enough unless he devoted a significant amount of effort, something he obviously had no intention of doing. He did say "I apologize" but that really meant nothing to me at the moment. I then decided to get to the heart of the issue. "The issue is obviously training. You need to train your employees better." The older man said "Training, huh?" I seriously laughed that he would even question that :ROFL: . "Yeah, haha, obviously you need to be trained. You don't know the law and you treat customers like this just because you think that you have some kind of authority? What gives you the right? Nothing." The old man just glared at me. I decided to wrap it up and get out of Dodge, I'd had enough. "I shop here a lot and so do many people I know. People are going to hear about this and I don't expect you'll get much of my business anymore." The manager apologized again, but he obviously didn't care or he might have put some degree of effort into his apology. Feeling completely incredulous at all of this, "You need training." were the last words I said to the older guy just before I turned around and walked out.

My friend and I laughed and joked about the experience for the rest of the evening as we went to a few other places and then out for dinner. This had been his first real day of open carrying and he took the whole thing really well. He actually expressed that he kind of enjoyed it because he was able to see how ignorant people can be and how knowledge is definitely power when it comes open carry confrontations. We stopped at Wal-Mart to buy some of the things we had originally intended on buying at Cabela's. There were dozens more people there and many, many more employees. No one said a single thing as we gave our money to a business that respects our rights. :patriot:
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby DaKnife » Tue 14 Feb 2012 11:43 am

What I'm failing to see is why you are attacking that manager. He backed you 100%. It appears to me that he'd had discussions similar to this with this employee before, thus having the law handy and letting you, the customer who was in the right, read the code to the employee.

Two people mishandled this event. Number one the older employee who doesn't know the laws and tried to enforce his opinion. The second one was you for getting upset when given the chance to prove the older employee wrong, doing so with the help and verification of the manager. Nobody drug you to the back office like a student to the principals office. You didn't have to go, you could have just left, or just pulled up the code on your smartphone (what I assume you planned on doing in the first place.) The store employee's have zero legal authority over you, they can ask you to leave, but in this case you could have asked to talk to a manager and that request would have been revoked.

Remove the chip from your shoulder, and next time just look at it as a chance to edumacate someone. You turned a positive experience showing the managers know the law into a reinforcement of the old guy's opinion as to why "kids" shouldn't be allowed to have handguns.

Also I still would have pulled up the code on my phone, because the state website is always up to date, whereas that pamphlet could have been a couple years old. Not that the relevant law has been changed recently but it's still a good practice to hit the live source rather than something that was printed who knows how long ago.
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby Joe Cool » Tue 14 Feb 2012 12:08 pm

The manager assumes all blame for the actions of his employees. It is his responsibility to train and educate his underlings on all relevant policies and laws. The manager could have put a firm end to the encounter at any point. The fact that he didn't shows his lack of a spine and his poor leadership qualities. It is not my job to put his employees in their place, it is his.

You are right, no one made me go back there. I did so because there was obviously no other way to diffuse the situation and I relished the opportunity to prove the old man wrong, which I did. Again, the whole thing shouldn't have happened in the first place, which is why the blame rests on the manager's shoulders. I also wanted to bring this issue to the attention of management. Although I am sure that a manager such as this one has little more in him than donuts and apathy.

I considered the smartphone option. I decided against it for several reasons. The first being that I get poor service in Cabela's, I didn't believe the older man would have been capable of reading such small text or understand how to operate the device, and I didn't want them holding my phone.

I could also really care less what the old guy thinks of feels. He was wrong and it was beyond even a question of my rights. He was in the wrong in the aspect of customer service. You don't treat customers like that under any circumstance, no matter the cause. The old man had his point and I had mine. It just so happens that I was completely right and he was completely wrong.

If you're okay with this kind of behavior I suggest you also boycott Starbucks today. It is unacceptable.
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby Hawk87 » Tue 14 Feb 2012 12:13 pm

Joe Cool wrote:The manager assumes all blame for the actions of his employees. It is his responsibility to train and educate his underlings on all relevant policies and laws. The manager could have put a firm end to the encounter at any point. The fact that he didn't shows his lack of a spine and his poor leadership qualities. It is not my job to put his employees in their place, it is his.

You are right, no one made me go back there. I did so because there was obviously no other way to diffuse the situation and I relished the opportunity to prove the old man wrong, which I did. Again, the whole thing shouldn't have happened in the first place, which is why the blame rests on the manager's shoulders. I also wanted to bring this issue to the attention of management. Although I am sure that a manager such as this one has little more in him than donuts and apathy.

I considered the smartphone option. I decided against it for several reasons. The first being that I get poor service in Cabela's, I didn't believe the older man would have been capable of reading such small text or understand how to operate the device, and I didn't want them holding my phone.

I could also really care less what the old guy thinks of feels. He was wrong and it was beyond even a question of my rights. He was in the wrong in the aspect of customer service. You don't treat customers like that under any circumstance, no matter the cause. The old man had his point and I had mine. It just so happens that I was completely right and he was completely wrong.

If you're okay with this kind of behavior I suggest you also boycott Starbucks today. It is unacceptable.


Ok, everyone breath...

First, I think that is great that you corrected the guy and brought it to the managers attention. Do I think you could have done it a little nicer? Maybe, but its not really up to me to say. Just remember, you represent all gun owners when you open carry, please remember that. If you do have a chip on your shoulder, please fix the attitude, or reconsider representing every gun owner in America.

I don't think a personal attack on someone that disagrees with out was out of line however.
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby Joe Cool » Tue 14 Feb 2012 12:24 pm

I guess I didn't convey that I was VERY polite and courteous. I thought that the emoticons would convey my playful and stunned mood throughout the encounter. I don't have a chip on my shoulder. When someone tries to tell me that I am breaking the law and they are unfriendly I am going to be unfriendly right back. I took much, much more offense on a customer service level than a 2A level.
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby Snowman » Tue 14 Feb 2012 12:33 pm

There is no requirement to explain the status if your firearm to a store employee... I would have told him to buzz off, our ask for his manager, without stating anything about the gun.

I can see why you were stired up. BUT... you could have done the training. Sit down in the office, explain to the older fellow how he was wrong, you get the plesure of him admitting in front of his boss that he screwed up. Then you ask if there's any "manager's" special on ammo/whatever inreturn for a employee gun law training seminar!!

Just think about flies, vinegar and honey.
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby SuperSoaker » Tue 14 Feb 2012 1:29 pm

It read like a short-story. Nice writing! Unfortunately, the whole OC-and-wait-for-someone-to-question-it is a bit tired, in my opinion.

It is hard to turn back 50 years of social conditioning that has taught the public to fear guns. It's not going to happen in one day, and will take a slow, consistent, considerate effort. Keep it up, but it is better for everyone to keep snarkiness to a minimum, in my opinion.
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby My Trigger Guard » Tue 14 Feb 2012 3:22 pm

Ya I am kind of mixed on this wall of text, that is well written. I am very glad you are up to date with the laws and abide by them. I am glad the situation was rectified. I just can't help but read in some young big ego the way things are painted. Why well becuase that little office you mention I have spent several hours in there on multiple occasions myself, its not there for detain and question room. Its there research/ballistics and custom special ordering room. They are ussually quite busy too. I have as well OCed there many times before without issue. It is also law that they can not sell handguns to under 21, so I could understand not showing them to him.

I guess I just do not like the way the situation was painted, I am at cabelas an awful lot and have had no problems, could they be better trained definatly. Again I am quite happy that you stood up for your rights though as it should be. Just remember that your representing all the other 20 and 21 year old packers out there, guns and ego's dont mix.

Enough said and I see rebutle's to some of the others already stating you where calm and courteus, so enough said, Carry on :thumbup:
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby DaKnife » Tue 14 Feb 2012 3:23 pm

One more point to consider. As to you the older gentleman was totally in the wrong. But as to your friend he was partially right. Your friend can carry. But where the gentleman was most likely confused is it is illegal for a FFL to sell a handgun to anyone under the age of 21. He works in a gun shop, he HAS to know who he can and can't sell to. He confused this with who can carry. It also explains why they didn't want to let your friend even look at a handgun. Now there I think they did cross the line, as a 20 year old is very likely to soon become a 21 year old so why shouldn't he be allowed to browse and check out items he will soon be able to buy. The law doesn't say he can't look at them just that he can't buy one, or rather that the FFL can't sell one to him.

So again your outrage IMHO far outweighs the crime. He was wrong, but it was more confusion between laws rather than being totally wrong. And being an FFL (or working in a FFL shop, not sure how that all works), it's good that he is quite clear on who he can and cannot sell to. He was just confused as to how far the prohibition extended. And semi-rightfully so. If he forgets the prohibition is only applicable to FFL's then it can be confusing as to how a 20 year old obtained the piece he's packing, and thus get confused as to the age of legal carry.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922 sub paragraph (b) 1 for the cited federal law.
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby gravedancer » Tue 14 Feb 2012 4:27 pm

Step 1) Look in mirror
Step 2) Notice chip the size of a volkswagon on shoulder
Step 3) Remove chip
Step 4) Realize that while the manager may not have been as vigorous as you wouldve liked in his response, he DID back your position and told his employee flat out he was wrong.
Step 5) Take a deep breath
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby dewittdj » Tue 14 Feb 2012 8:26 pm

SuperSoaker wrote:It read like a short-story. Nice writing! Unfortunately, the whole OC-and-wait-for-someone-to-question-it is a bit tired, in my opinion.

It is hard to turn back 50 years of social conditioning that has taught the public to fear guns. It's not going to happen in one day, and will take a slow, consistent, considerate effort. Keep it up, but it is better for everyone to keep snarkiness to a minimum, in my opinion.
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby scooter » Tue 14 Feb 2012 8:51 pm

Joe Cool wrote:We stopped at Wal-Mart to buy some of the things we had originally intended on buying at Cabela's. There were dozens more people there and many, many more employees. No one said a single thing as we gave our money to a business that respects our rights. :patriot:


Did I hear (read) you right??? Wal-Mart over Cabelas for respecting your gun rights?
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby Kevin Jensen » Tue 14 Feb 2012 9:53 pm

I believe one of the gentlemen that "checks firearms" at the door is a member here, if he wishes to out himself. :D
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby schmack » Tue 14 Feb 2012 10:44 pm

You probably shouldn't be urinating on the walls....
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Re: Very Poor Experience at Cabela's Yesterday

Postby Joe Cool » Wed 15 Feb 2012 10:07 am

Snowman wrote:Just think about flies, vinegar and honey.


Very true, and something I agree with. I just do not find it my place to do the education of any company's employees. I couldn't care less about getting a discount. Being harassed by an ignorant person when I am not bothering anyone is not worth any amount of compensation, carrying a gun or not. Like I said, the customer service issue bothered me a lot more than the 2A issue.

SuperSoaker wrote:Unfortunately, the whole OC-and-wait-for-someone-to-question-it is a bit tired, in my opinion.


I don't OC as a way to bait people into bothering me about it and it seems pretty ignorant for you to assume that is my reason. I OC because I don't have my permit yet. I OC because it is comfortable. There are other reasons as well but I know those two will suffice.

My Trigger Guard wrote:Ya I am kind of mixed on this wall of text, that is well written. I am very glad you are up to date with the laws and abide by them. I am glad the situation was rectified. I just can't help but read in some young big ego the way things are painted. Why well becuase that little office you mention I have spent several hours in there on multiple occasions myself, its not there for detain and question room. Its there research/ballistics and custom special ordering room. They are ussually quite busy too. I have as well OCed there many times before without issue. It is also law that they can not sell handguns to under 21, so I could understand not showing them to him.

I guess I just do not like the way the situation was painted, I am at cabelas an awful lot and have had no problems, could they be better trained definatly. Again I am quite happy that you stood up for your rights though as it should be. Just remember that your representing all the other 20 and 21 year old packers out there, guns and ego's dont mix.

Enough said and I see rebutle's to some of the others already stating you where calm and courteus, so enough said, Carry on :thumbup:


If someone is going to harass me and treat me like I'm breaking the law or disturbing people I am not going to be friendly to them. I don't care if I am carrying or not. When I am within the law I expected to be treated as a law abiding citizen. Furthermore, I was absolutely disgusted with how a grunt-level employee thought they could treat a customer who wasn't bothering anyone at all.

I am aware that it is not a detain and question room. I thought I was clear enough when I said that things seemed that way. The manager could have put an end to the encounter at any point and he decided to let things carry on the way they did. That shows two symptoms probably indicative of a bigger problem.

I'm glad that you have OCed there without issue. That's great. My experience was not the same. Unfortunately, it was likely due to our age. But being young is no crime. In fact, being young and responsibly armed is something that should be praised and encouraged. It's this social stigma attached to gun ownership that keeps many people my age uninformed and unarmed. Many, many of my peers had no idea they could carry until I started doing so. I blame people like this old man for creating an environment in which such issues exist.

I'm very proud to represent other young firearms enthusiasts. I may have more flame in my belly than you are comfortable with, but I will not apologize for standing up for myself and my rights and setting things straight in an educated and eloquent manner.

DaKnife wrote:One more point to consider. As to you the older gentleman was totally in the wrong. But as to your friend he was partially right. Your friend can carry. But where the gentleman was most likely confused is it is illegal for a FFL to sell a handgun to anyone under the age of 21. He works in a gun shop, he HAS to know who he can and can't sell to. He confused this with who can carry. It also explains why they didn't want to let your friend even look at a handgun. Now there I think they did cross the line, as a 20 year old is very likely to soon become a 21 year old so why shouldn't he be allowed to browse and check out items he will soon be able to buy. The law doesn't say he can't look at them just that he can't buy one, or rather that the FFL can't sell one to him.

So again your outrage IMHO far outweighs the crime. He was wrong, but it was more confusion between laws rather than being totally wrong. And being an FFL (or working in a FFL shop, not sure how that all works), it's good that he is quite clear on who he can and cannot sell to. He was just confused as to how far the prohibition extended. And semi-rightfully so. If he forgets the prohibition is only applicable to FFL's then it can be confusing as to how a 20 year old obtained the piece he's packing, and thus get confused as to the age of legal carry.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922 sub paragraph (b) 1 for the cited federal law.


You may be a bit confused. We didn't really care about the gentleman at the counter who wouldn't let him see a gun. We knew it wasn't law but decided that it was not worth arguing their own policy with them. There was very little outrage about the gun counter incident. These were two separate employees.

scooter wrote:
Joe Cool wrote:We stopped at Wal-Mart to buy some of the things we had originally intended on buying at Cabela's. There were dozens more people there and many, many more employees. No one said a single thing as we gave our money to a business that respects our rights. :patriot:


Did I hear (read) you right??? Wal-Mart over Cabelas for respecting your gun rights?


In this case, yes. If you read the rest of the post you might have noticed how I was treated. Also, as far as I know Wal-Mart has either an official or unofficial policy to simply abide by the local laws when it comes to firearms. I've had dozens of open carry experiences in several different Wal-Mart locations and I have been treated well every time. Much more so, at least, than this circus they call Cabela's.


schmack wrote:You probably shouldn't be urinating on the walls....


:thumbsup:


Fortunately, I didn't post this to seek approval or get E-high fives. I posted this because it affects YOU! This is something that really happened and this is really how I was treated. Regardless of my actions/reactions it is still a situation that occurred in the real world. This is how you may be treated when you go to Cabela's. Like I said before, this is a bigger outrage to me in customer service respect rather than anything else. Nonetheless, it was something that shouldn't have happened. One employee acting like this doesn't mean that all of them do, of course not. But apathetic management means that the issue is probably bigger than an isolated incident. Will I write a letter/start a petition/stage a protest? No. But I will not be giving them my money and I will be telling my friends and family about the incident.

:patriot:
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